By BizLED Bureau
Jan 20, 2016: As per global facts, a large base of power-wasting fluorescent T12 lamps and inefficient T8s exist. As per a report released on July 14, 2014, fluorescent lamps that can’t meet efficiency levels of 88 lm/W, or 89 lm/W for lamps with CCT greater than 4500K, can no longer be manufactured or imported into the US. This eliminates many T8s and all T12 fluorescent.
To fill the void, LED lighting manufacturers, established brands and relative newcomers, are shifting their focus to LED lighting.
There are ample good reasons for residential and commercial users to consider LED lighting against fluorescent products. Popularity and better efficacy levels of LED T8 lamps and linear fixtures reveal pros and cons.
Replacement versus retrofit
There are two different methods to migrate existing fluorescent lighting installations to LEDs: replacement lamps, and retrofit fixtures or lamps.
Replacement lamps are just what the name suggests ? they can be directly replaced with a fluorescent lamp in an existing unmodified fixture: You take out the old fluorescent lamp from the fixture, and replace it with an LED lamp. Though this situation seems ideal but the only fallback is, the lamp must function with the fixture’s existing ballast, incurring the penalty of the extra ballast.
It is a major product-development challenge for the tube manufacturer to design LED lamp drivers that has the ability to accept input from a wide variety of existing fluorescent ballasts from different players. And as fluorescent ballasts have a shorter lifespan than LED lamps, it may compromise the advantages of tube replacements.
On the other hand, retrofit T8 lamps require the fixture to be modified for tube installation. Typically, the retrofit requires removal of the ballast from its point which allows direct wiring between the lamp and the AC power coming into the fixture. The most obvious disadvantage of the retrofit option is that it requires effort, knowledge to rewire the fixture and costs involved. On a bright side, retrofitted fixture has no inefficiency penalty since it only has its own lamp driver.
T8 LED lamps in commercial/residential areas
LED versions of the familiar T8 lamps are available in market for some time now. With the latest technological advancements, they’ve improved in both performance and price to the point that they are eligible alternatives to traditional fluorescent lighting. And LEDs can have other advantages as well as LED-based tubes deliver better color quality in demanding retail and commercial settings. With potential power savings, LED T8 lamps have the ability to respond to intelligent controllers, for even more energy savings. This “smart lighting” technique holds the idea to replace fluorescents with LEDs in the commercial/industrial space.
In residential space, LED T8 lamps fluorescents lights as well. Fluorescents lights are often used in cold environments most likely garages, workshops, and barns, where fluorescents turn on slowly and often flicker in cold environment. LEDs, on the other hand, can turn on instantly, and cold weather does not affect their performance. In addition, a high-CRI, dimmable LED tube lamp can make a marked difference in a gaming-zone room, kitchen, or bathroom, with no audible disturbances. There are an impressive number of lights and lamps available now to choose from.